New Delhi: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari Friday clarified his statement on Vijay Mallya which landed him in trouble. Apparently, Gadkari had said that it was not right to call fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya a ‘fraud’. He had said that it wasn’t right to call someone a ‘fraud’ who had repaid loans for 40 years but defaulted once he entered the aviation sector and ran into problems.
Stating that his statement was taken out of context, Gadkari said, “I had said that if Vijay Mallya has done any wrong and an investigation is underway on him, then the investigation is right and suitable.”
Mallya further said, “I had also said that his (Mallya) account was a prime account for 40 years. It went for a toss on the 41st year. Ups and downs are bound to happen in business. Both my statements have been taken out of context.”
For the unversed, Gadkari had said, “Mujhe Vijay Mallya se kuch lena-dena nahin hai… 40 saal jab Mallya regular payment kar raha tha, byaaj bhar raha tha, tab Mallya ka prime account tha… aur 40 saal ke baad, aviation mein jaane ke baad… woh bhi mujhe malum hai history poori… uske baad woh adchan mein aaya toh woh ekdum chor ho gaya?… jo 50 saal byaaj bharta hai woh theek hai, par ek baar woh default ho gaya… toh thurant sab fraud ho gaya? Yeh mansikta theek nahin hai.”
However, the transport minister said that he was referring to a loan from the Maharashtra government-owned entity Sicom to Mallya, extended 40 years ago, which he repaid on time without any default. The Union Minister said that if someone goes through a downward cycle, then he or she has to be supported.
Earlier this week, a London court had ordered Mallya’s extradition, in a major boost to the government’s efforts to bring back the fugitive businessman. Ahead of the extradition hearing, the 62-year-old former boss of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines had offered to repay the entire principal amount to banks.